Blu-ray Review: Fedora

Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Billy Wilder
Screenplay by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
Based on the novella by Tom Tryon
Starring William Holden, Marthe Keller, and José Ferrer
Olive Films
Release Date: October 28, 2014

Aging and the collapse of the old Hollywood studio system has made Barry “Dutch” Detweiler (William Holden) cynical about the redefined business of filmmaking. Now a struggling independent producer exhausting what little finances he has to develop a new adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s literary masterpiece Anna Karenina, Dutch has traveled to a remote Greek island in search of the legendary actress Fedora (Marthe Keller). It’s been years since Fedora, once one of the most beloved stars of the silver screen, suffered the emotional breakdown that sent her into permanent seclusion and Dutch hopes to lure her out of self-imposed retirement to star in his newest production. But he finds his efforts to approach Fedora thwarted at every turn by her mysterious and overprotective benefactors, the haughty Countess Sobryanski (Hildegard Knef) and the ethically-suspect plastic surgeon Dr. Vando (José Ferrer).

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DVD Review: Paramount Centennial Collection: ‘Sunset Boulevard’ and ‘Sabrina’

Sunset Boulevard and Sabrina
2-Disc Collector’s sets
The Paramount Centennial Collection
Directed by Billy Wilder
Starring Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olsen, Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn
Paramount Home Entertainment
Release date: November 11, 2008

In my mind, there is a Holy Trinity of filmmakers. Three directors who, among all their work, you could find any and every reason for watching a film. There’s Akira Kurosawa, there’s Stanley Kubrick”¦

And then there’s Billy Wilder.

Wilder lived the longest, died the latest, won the most Oscars, displayed the most versatility and yet somehow, for some strange reason, is the most underseen and underloved among this recent group of self-styled movie geeks. Yeah, everyone’s seen The Shining and A Clockwork Orange, and yes there are some who try to boost their cred by watching Seven Samurai, but it’s depressing to see how few have seen at least one Wilder film”¦. Or even name one.

With the possible exception of Howard Hawks (who made films as dissimilar as The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, His Girl Friday and the original The Thing), no mainstream Hollywood director has ever shown Wilder’s utter refusal to be pigeon-holed into one kind of movie. Wilder made films as disparate as The Apartment and Double Indemnity. As Stalag 17 and The Seven Year Itch. As the long lost Ace In The Hole and the woefully underrated The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.

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